o/t: leisure reading in August

I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading long books, which means they tend to accumulate unread on the shelves, so this month I decided to revisit the fabled Halls of Stonkerdom and tackle a couple of really long ones, plus another that was getting there in terms of wordcount. I’ll be doing a bit more of this catching up in the months to come.

Links are as usual to my Goodreads notes.

Advertisements

o/t: Janis Ian’s Annual Pearl Foundation sale starts today!

It’s a great cause, she’s a great person, and there are always great bargains to be had! Here’s the info in her own words:

 

Annual Pearl Foundation Sale Starts
Saturday, August 26th

Come one, come all! Our once a year sale will start this Saturday, August 26th at 12:00 noon (CST).

Be sure to visit the Janis Ian Store on Saturday, as many of these items are available in very limited numbers.

You’ll find lots and lots of items that are only available during this once a year storewide sale. Lots of regular items will also be reduced in price. Remember, the products you purchase benefit the Pearl Foundation!

Here are just a few of the special items you’ll find during the sale:

* Please note that these links won’t work until Saturday at 12:00 noon!

o/t: a brief hiatus

I’m working hell-for-leather to get the current book completed for Publisher A by the end of the month, Publisher B wants a couple of book proposals out of me as soon as I’ve delivered Publisher A’s book, and a couple of days ago Publisher C turned up out of the blue wanting me to work on a book presentation for Frankfurt with a view to writing the book itself assuming the project’s successful at the fair and goes ahead . . . whichj I very much hope it does, because it’s a fun one!

All in all, I’m a bit busy. So I’ve decided to give this site a rest for three or four weeks — perhaps a week or so more or less than that, depending on how things go.

I’m just nervous about how many “likes” this post will get . . .

Murder at the Windmill (1949)

|
“Always something coming off, always something going on!”
|

vt Mystery at the Burlesque
UK / 65 minutes / bw / Angel, Grand National Dir & Scr: Val Guest Pr: Daniel M. Angel Cine: Bert Mason Cast: Garry Marsh, Jack Livesey, Jon Pertwee, Elliot Makeham, Diana Decker, Donald Clive, Jill Anstey, Jimmy Edwards, Margot Johns (i.e., Margo Johns), Genine Grahame, Pamela Deeming, Johnnie Gale, John Powe, Constance Smith, Barry O’Neill, Ron Perriam, Christine Welsford, Peter Butterworth, Ivan Craig, Robin Richmond, and members of the Windmill Theatre Company: Raymond, Anita, Pat, Margot, June and Maureen.

“Wherever it was practical to do so this story was filmed on the actual sites in and around the Windmill Theatre and the parts played by the Girls and Staff of the Theatre were re-enacted by themselves.”

The Windmill Theatre, just off London’s Piccadilly Circus, was famed for two things: the fact that its variety shows (the closest, but I think rather misleading, US equivalent would be burlesque) featured nude tableaux, and its claim (which may have been truthful) that it missed nary a performance all through the Blitz. “We Never Closed!” was the boast—indeed, here it is:

The idea of a murder mystery set within the Windmill and featuring a number of its real-life performers must have seemed irresistible to producers, to director Val Guest and indeed to potential cinema audiences. Of course, the screen censors wouldn’t allow the inclusion of any of the famed tableaux, even though it was censorship that was responsible for the tableaux in the first place: moving performers weren’t at the time permitted to be naked on the London stage, for fear of undue jiggling, heaven forfend, but motionless tableaux featuring classical themes were exempt, being clearly of educational interest.

Which I suppose in a way they were, for at least some of the younger spectators among the Windmill’s audiences. Even so, one of the unusual features of the theatre was that opera glasses were forbidden.

By the time I lived in London, the Windmill was Continue reading

Robert Mitchum Centennial

***A splendid essay from Brian Camp on the noirish great.

Brian Camp's Film and Anime Blog

Robert Mitchum was born on August 6th, 1917, 100 years ago today. (My father was born less than two months later.) I was born on August 6th also, on Mitchum’s 36th birthday. Mitchum died on July 1, 1997, a little over a month shy of his 80th birthday. He happens to be my favorite movie star. I wrote about him here three times already, covering his debut film, BORDER PATROL (1943); his 1949 film, HOLIDAY AFFAIR; and in a piece about Sam Fuller’s THE BIG RED ONE, his appearance in THE LONGEST DAY (1962), where he played the general leading the attack on Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting on D-Day.

View original post 5,691 more words

Delavine Affair, The (1955)

|
“And don’t forget: make one silly mistake and she won’t be working with you any more!”
|

vt Murder is News
UK / 62 minutes / bw / Croydon Passmore, Monarch Dir: Douglas Peirce Pr: Henry Passmore Scr: George Fisher, J.B. Boothroyd (i.e., Basil Boothroyd) Story: Winter Wears a Shroud (1952) by Robert Chapman Cine: Jonah Jones, Bernie Lewis Cast: Peter Reynolds, Honor Blackman, Gordon Jackson, Valerie Vernon, Michael Balfour, Peter Neil, Laurie Main, Peter Swannick (i.e., Peter Swanwick), Katie Johnson, Mark Daly, Anna Turner, Mai Bacon, Hal Osmond, Vernon Kelso, Christie Humphrey.

Robert Chapman, author of this movie’s source novel, was a Fleet Street journalist and columnist—in fact, I vaguely recollect bringing him a cup of tea when, as a schoolboy in the 1960s, I worked a vacation job as a messenger at Fleet Street’s Daily Express. I tried one of his detective novels some while later and found it Continue reading

o/t: July’s leisure reading

Quite a number of books read this month, though several of them are really quite short — refreshingly so, indeed, in these days when far too many novels are stonkbusteringly thick. The links are as usual to my Goodreads notes.

Night to Remember, A (1942)

|
Loretta Young and Brian Aherne crack a murder case and some not very good jokes!
|

vt Number Thirteen Gay Street; vt The Frightened Stiff
US / 88 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: Richard Wallace Pr: Samuel Bischoff Scr: Richard Flournoy, Jack Henley Story: The Frightened Stiff (1942) by Kelley Roos Cine: Joseph Walker Cast: Loretta Young, Brian Aherne, Jeff Donnell, William Wright, Sidney Toler, Gale Sondergaard, Donald MacBride, Lee Patrick, Don Costello, Richard Gaines, Blanche Yurka, James Burke, Harry Harvey, Cy Kendall, George Lloyd, George Chandler.

There’s a very famous movie called A Night to Remember. Directed by Roy Ward Baker in 1958, with a screenplay by Eric Ambler, it stars Kenneth More with Geoffrey Bayldon, Honor Blackman, Anthony Bushell, John Cairney, Sean Connery, Kenneth Griffith, Andrew Keir, Frank Lawton, David McCallum, Alec McCowen, Laurence Naismith, Russell Napier, Harold Siddons, Jack Watling and a horde of others, and is regarded as the best extant movie tracing the final hours of the “unsinkable” Titanic, which sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg.

This is not that movie.

Nor is it the inauguration of a comedy-crime series to rival the THIN MAN, although there are sufficient resemblances in the setup to make one speculate that this was the intention; here, though, Continue reading

reblog: Lillian Gish Has A Few Words About Early Hollywood – Past Daily Weekend Gallimaufry

From Gordon Skene’s excellent site Past Daily, a fascinating 1969 half-hour radio interview with the one and only Lillian Gish.

======================

 Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish – Despite her modesty, a star of the highest magnitude during the Silent Era of Film.

Lillian Gish, a name synonymous with the early days of Hollywood, and along with her sister Dorothy, household names in both Theater and Film from the earliest days.

The farther we get away from those formative years of Cinema, when the craft was evolving and the growing pains were plentiful, the less we remember those names which were such an integral part of that early history – the crucial period when film went from being an arcade novelty to the artform it evolved into. The changes in attitude – the advancement of lighting and technology and even the cameras used to shoot these films – they were all part of a great movement that was growing up and becoming the new entertainment form, popular all over the world.

In this interview, conducted as part of the weekly series Bookbeat featuring Chicago Tribune/Washington Post,

======================

Read the rest and listen to the interview HERE.

Into the Night (1955 TVM)

|
Jacques Tourneur directs a taut little noirish thriller!
|

US / 26 minutes / bw / Revue, MCA, CBS Dir: Jacques Tourneur Pr: Leon Gordon Scr: Mel Dinelli Story: Charles Hoffman Cine: Ellsworth Fredricks (i.e., Ellsworth Fredericks) Cast: Eddie Albert, Ruth Roman, Dane Clark, Robert Armstrong, Jeanne Bates, Wallis Clark, Bill Fawcett, Nora Marlowe, Larry Blake, Bob Bice, Jerry Mathers.

An episode of the CBS drama series General Electric Theater (season 3, episode 32, for the benefit of completists), this Jacques Tourneur-directed outing manages to pack all the plot, characterization and suspense of an upper-drawer B-feature into half or less of the typical running time.

Helen Mattson (Roman) and husband Paul (Albert) are going away for a weekend’s vacation in Palm Springs, leaving Continue reading